When I compare the excitement of the nation during the America’s Cup to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the disparity is rather shocking.  The pride we all felt at our team’s performance and attitude last year was deep and heartfelt.  Yesterday Dana Johanssen’s article claiming Sochi was like watching an expensive Kiwi skiing holiday was published in The Herald berating the team’s attitude following the performance at the Olympics.

In particular the journalist seemed frustrated with the athletes seeming to be having a good time, saying

‘We see them at the end of their runs, sticking out their tongues, waving to the camera with “hi Mum and Dad” written on their hands, and theatrically shrugging their shoulders when their score puts them out of contention. Their twitter feeds are full of selfies and really rad instagram pics.’

Speeding past San Fransisco in a multi million dollar yacht is hardly a demographic levelling pastime.

Looking through Jossi Wells’ Twitter feed he has posted frequently and shares pictures of what’s going on behind the scenes including shots of make up sessions before TV interviews and proclamations of delight at his reaching the finals.  Admittedly his posts are littered with sk8tr boi speak, ‘Let’s go hit rails, homeboy’ but is Johanssen’s reaction justified?  Being annoyed with the vernacular and demeanour of those younger than you detracts from any valid argument being made.

Before the days of social media, the same thing was probably going on, it’s just that we didn’t know about it. 

Coupled with that, those in the winter Olympic team are a generation of digital natives and tend to have less of a filter when sharing what’s going on in their lives and are possibly less sensitive to how their self PR is being received.

A positive attitude and possibly a bit of embarrassment at performance doesn’t necessarily mean the athletes aren’t dogged in their determination to improve and succeed.  If we don’t compete at this top level, we won’t have a chance at getting on the podium.


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